Why young Sabahans prefer going to KL
Published on: Tuesday, July 13, 2010
By: Avila Geraldine Samuel

A SCROLL for a higher learning institution no longer guarantees job placement in a company nowadays.Lacking skills and knowledge as well as innovation in today's world are some of the many factors that contribute to the numbers of unemployed graduates, especially those who are fresh from college and university.

Without skills and experience to complement the certificate, one may not make it through the interview session.

"The problem is that sometimes what they studied in the university does not really focus on the actual job or the degree they obtained does not relate to the job they applied for.

"Good results and theories learned will not help much in job application.

Graduates must equip themselves with many skills to show that they are capable of taking any job available and not only based on their diploma and degree course."

Resource Development and Information Technology Assistant Minister Datuk Jainab Ahmad Ayid said.

Based on Higher Education Ministry statistics, 30,000 graduates remained jobless six months after graduation while www.jobless.com.my stated that Malaysia's unemployment rate was recorded at 3.5 per cent end of 2009."

"The number of unemployed in the country is serious.

We don't want our graduates or our youths to think there is no future for them if they were unable to get the job they applied for.

"Job seekers must think positively and not to be discouraged.

They must build themselves with skills and not choosy when looking for a job," Jainab added.

She said young people must be able to do all kinds of job available, be it working in a restaurant, a plantation, a hotel, or even taking up jobs that offer low basic payment.

"We have stressed on this many times but it seems that there are those who still stick to their old habit or do not look forward to improve on their skills and capabilities.

"There are also those who job-hop É never settling with one company for a period of time, which is really bad for the resume.

"These are some of the reasons why our young people are still unemployed and among other reasons."

However, in view of the high cost of living nowadays, there is nothing wrong for job seekers to choose a job that offers better salary in order to support their living costs.

While being picky is common among this group of people, it is not uncommon that they may not be hired unless they have what it takes to perform the job well with the skills at hand.

"If you apply for a job because of the salary, you may not necessarily get the job because you fail to focus on the job scope or what it requires you to do. Hence, you fail the interview session," Jainab explained.

Living in a competitive world, she said youths must be courageous to try new things to expand their existing skills in order to compete with others and to become a better person.

"So what if they worked in a coffee shop or in a plantation that offers low payment?

They can learn from the experience and the business itself É and with the experience gained, they can open a business of their own.

"They have to open up their mind. We have to start from basic.

Promotion or salary raise will come later," Jainab stressed.

Could salary be the main cause as to why some Sabahans leave their hometown to work in Kuala Lumpur, which is said to have better job opportunities and higher income compared to Sabah?

Or to seek experience elsewhere out of the State is a way to learn to be independent, which prompt these young people to venture into the big city and while others fly to other countries.

Jainab listed four factors as to why young Sabahans nowadays are in Kuala Lumpur or working there:

They go there voluntarily to see the bright lights in KL because the big city is where the action is.

They go there to further study and stay on after graduating because they are offered a job or looking for jobs there.

They go there to look for experience. By all means, young people become independent.

They go around asking and they don't have to worry about being malu (embarrassment).

Lastly, they went there because they fell prey to job scams.

"I used to work in KL because being young you want to explore and there is nothing wrong with that. However, young people cannot be too na"ve when they are on their own in the real world," Jainab added.

She said that na"ve young people are easily influenced.

"Because they don't have anyone there, they have to rely on their new KL acquaintances or those from other States who come to KL for similar purpose.

"The cost of living in Kuala Lumpur is way higher compared to Sabah.

Some youths failed to see this. In order to survive, they have to seek job with better payments.

"If you are a secondary school leaver, you can only apply for a security guard post or a clerk, factory worker, restaurant helper, among others.

We have so many of these job opportunities here.

"But don't forget that there are also many young people from other States seeking jobs in the big city.

Our young people have to compete with others in search for jobs."

What is more concerning, Jainab stressed, is that many young Sabahan girls are seen working as GROs or serving in pubs and clubs.

"I am concerned with our young people in Kuala Lumpur.

Some are desperate to earn high salary and that's why they work as GROs but we do not have a say on this matter because at the end of the day it's what they choose to do."

Meanwhile, she also advised Sabahans to be careful with advertisements promoting jobs in the peninsula that offer high salary, as most of the advertisements are mere puffery.

"There are employers promising high wages to job seekers but only to find that they are simply empty promises upon reaching the peninsula.

"I was told that there are those who went to KL to work as factory worker or restaurant helper with high payment, as promised, but when they arrived they were asked to sell beers and work in a pub É or no job at all," Jainab said.

Those who could not cope with their low-income job left to search for a better one.

To return home is definitely not an option as they are embarrassed to go home empty-handed.

As youths are not eager to take up jobs in their hometown, the intake of foreign workers is seen increasing following the high demand from employers.

Although Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman had described the presence of 600,000 foreign workers in Sabah as not alarming (as cited in StarOnline, dated Oct 19, 2009), they have taken job opportunities from the locals.

The Government was criticised for not taking measures to reduce the intake of foreign workers or not providing jobs for the locals when it is the local themselves that show zero interest.

"The report on homeless and jobless Sabahans in KL is a shocking eye opener for the people in Sabah.

Some blame us for not doing much to help our young people and that's why they go to KL to find jobs only to end up being jobless.

"In reality, the Government has done a lot for the young people.

Job opportunities are available everywhere but the problem is the people themselves.

You cannot really blame it on the Government," Jainab said.

The Human Resource Development Department (JPSM) has been offering courses to SPM holders to help enhance and develop their skills.

"We expanded our courses to SPM holders who did not obtain good results.

We have to focus on skills instead of academics. Previously, we focused on

academics but now we realise that there is no use to focus on academics if you are lacking in skills.

"According to most, our local youths can't stand working and that's why foreigners are taken in.

Our Sabahan youths are actually capable of working but they need guidance," Jainab said.

She also said those who undergo training courses under JPSM not only learn new skills but will also be provided with allowances.

Jainab said the human resource in the hospitality and plantation fields are needed in Sabah as these industries are among Sabah's strengths.

"We are a developing country and want to develop our human resource.

There is no use to develop the streets when our human capital is not developed.

"We need to train the locals because to take in foreign workers is risky.

We need to keep motivating them and by "we" I'm referring to the Government, parents, teachers, universities - everyone.

"We want them to wake up and open their eyes that in this modern era we have to be innovative, creative and work with dedication É but at the end of the day, we also have to bear in mind that it's up to their own will."

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